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Section D
Endocrine Disruption
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Endocrine Disruption
! Silent Spring
! By Rachel Carson, 1962
! Credited with launch of the environmental movement
! Pesticides, particularly DDT
! Our Stolen Future
! By Theo Colburn, Dianne Dumanoski, and John Peterson
! Called attention to man-made chemicals in the environment that threaten health in
humans and wildlife by disrupting the action of hormones
• Such chemicals have been called endocrine disruptors
Environmental Endocrine Disruptors: Definition
! An endocrine disruptor is an exogenous chemical substance or mixture that alters the
structure or function(s) of the endocrine system and causes adverse effects at the
level of:
! Organism and its progeny
! Populations
! Subpopulations
Environmental Endocrine Disruptors
! Effects on wildlife
! Alligators: abnormal gonad development and sex hormone
! Female phenotype in male fish, frogs
! Effects on humans
! Cancer?
• Increased breast cancer risk?
! Reproductive/developmental?
• Testicular dysgenesis syndrome
• Low birth weight
! Effects of combinations of environmental chemicals
Environmental Endocrine Disruptors
! 1996: Congress passed the Food Quality Protection Act and amendments to the Safe
Drinking Water Act
! Both laws contained provisions requiring screening and testing of chemicals and
pesticides for possible endocrine-disrupting effects in humans and wildlife
! Estrogens (agonist/antagonist)
! Androgens
! Thyroid hormones
! Endocrine Disruptor Screening and Testing Advisory Committee (EDSTAC)
! Screening program
Effects of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs) on the Human
Reproductive System
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EDCs that Have Effects on the Male Reproductive System
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EDCs that Have
Effects on the
Source: (2009). Endocrine Reviews, 30: 293–342.
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